Critic Reviews



Based on 27 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Leguizamo owns Empire, the first film to capture the live-wire crackle of his one-man stage shows -- He's front and center in nearly every scene, and he holds the screen with a simmering self-assurance.
A gangster movie with the capacity to surprise. People do unexpected things and for reasons we wouldn't anticipate.
Choreographer-turned-filmmaker Franc. Reyes covers familiar ground without stumbling or dazzling.
Boston Globe
Rossellini doesn't do much more than show up and be a hundred kinds of ravishing. Yet there's a movie in her ageless face and that untamed bouffant.
Stereotypical, banally written bloodbath.
This tale has been told and retold; the races and rackets change, but the song remains the same.
Chicago Reader
Watching John Leguizamo labor to keep this leaky vessel afloat, I was reminded of all those Hell's Kitchen melodramas James Cagney rescued in the early 30s.
Portland Oregonian
It's deeply ordinary, depressingly shabby stuff.
Village Voice
Too bad the central bedfellowship never gels, and Franc. Reyes's script turns a dissection of ambition into "Sleeping With the Enemy"-style nonsense.
Universal Pictures has a lot of gall to pick up a movie as thoroughly awful as Empire and -- with a straight face and a $20 million or so ad campaign -- thrust it on the holiday movie market as if it were a significant piece of filmmaking.

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